tv World Business Today CNN January 31, 2012 1:00am-2:00am PST
>> why not. >> i'm not leaving. i want more followers. more followers at howie m mandel. i'm zain verjee at cnn in london. the headlines this hour. this is video posted on you-tube reportedly shows rebels from the syrian army clashing are government forces. opposition groups say 100 people died on monday. the government says six soldiers were killed. the united nations security council is taking up a draft resolution this week calling for bashar a lar to step down.
i suspected u.s. drone strike in southern yemen on monday night. security officials say american missiles struck a province near the areas taken over by militant group. u.s. republican presidential candidate newt gingrich is blaming what he calls dishonest campaign ads by opponent mitt romney for his poor performance in the poor with the florida primary hours away, romney surged ahead of gingrich by 14 points. united nations nuclear experts say japanese regulators need to improve their plans for dealing with severe accidents. they've been studying the stress tests that tokyo ordered after the fukushima daiichi. whether the plants themselves are safe. those are the headlines from cnn. the world news leader. i'm zain verjee and "world business today" starts now.
good morning to you from cnn london. i'm nina does santos. >> i'm andrew stephens. welcome to "world business today." it's tuesday january 31st. the e.u. has all but sealed the fiscal future of the eurozone. greece has seven weeks left to ensure that it isn't voted out of the single currency. if you live in florida, you've got a four in ten chance that your home is worth less than your mortgage on it. how will that play into the race for the republican presidential nominee? >> an annual filing from the owners of the costa concordia shows just how much the disaster is hurting the company. most e.u. nations put their confidence in angela merkel's plan to safeguard the euro. in turn, asian and european
market are cautiously following suit this tuesday. u.s. futures are moving absolutely higher after monday's down day on wall street. there's good reason that the enthusiasm is staying contained and no surprises for getting what that reason is. nina, it's always the same. it's greece. >> greece is certainly the word these days. in the meantime, while investors haven't gotten the deal they wanted, angela merkel got the deal she wanted in brussels on monday. 25 out of the 27 countries have now backed her plan to fiscal rules aimed at protecting the eurozone. any protection for greece is far from assured. jim bold en reports. >> after six hours of talks in brussels on monday, european union leaders agreed on some things in order to help stabilize the euro zone and try to calm the stock market.
the first thing is they've agreed to start the stabilization mechanism starting in july. a year earlier than planned. this is a permanent bailout fund that will be available for any country that may need a bailout in the future, including greece. the idea is that if you put enough money in a permanent fund, maybe the market will think that europe is very serious about the euro and won't go after these economy's bond market. however, they weren't all able to agree on the stability pact. 25 of the 27 e.u. countries have agreed to try to find a way to more tightly integrate their economies. the czech republic couldn't go along with it and britain has rejected the idea and will work more closely -- the euro has signed up for this, others, including sweden and poland who originally might not have signed up, did find today things they could agree with. the swedish prime minister told
me why they have agreed to sign the stability pacts. >> for he sweden it was possible because the things brought forward were expected. it has no legal impact on sweden. they respect the fact that we take our own decision on when and if to join the euro. for our wage setting model. it gives us at the same time, influence and presence during the summit meeting. that combination was, of course, the support i needed from swedish parliament to bring sweden in. >> what wasn't on the agenda was greece. they're still waiting for the greek government to have an agreement with the banks, the insurance companies and the hedge funds which own greek debt. an agreement was reached earlier to allow greece to have a big cut in its bonds and the interest rate on the bond and to save billions every year in bond
pam. however shall the final details have to be worked out. once with it's worked out, leaders can discuss how to give greece a second bailout to pay its bills. we heard in brussels, they need to have that agreement very quickly to put in place things by mid-february. jim boulden, cnn, brussels. you heard jim talking about need for speed in sorting out greece's financial woes, but it's not just athens who need to compromise. would even if they do, sovereign -- germany and france must also agree on what happens next. greece is becoming under repeated fire for failing to see through austerity measure that will promise in return for one of the bailout for this country. germany, in particular, is suggesting that an e.u. budget commissioner. however, the french president, nicolas sarkozy backed the greek
finance minister calling that particular proposition by angela merkel and her government unreasonable and undemocratic. this isn't the only discord ant note at the crisis. austerity in athens is emblem attic of what merkel seeks to achieve across the european continent. she's at odds with mr. sarkozy's compatriot. the cost cutting must be tailored and excessive cuts would only strangle growth for the euro. there's a third thorn in mrs. merkel's side. the british minister, david cameron. he isn't going to stand in the way of the fiscal treaty, but, however, as the man who refused to sign that pact, his vow to go to the courts if he feels british interests are undermined by these proposals. here's a look at how it's playing how. major indices.
they're responding positively to some kind of statement coming out of brussels albeit across 25 of the 27 e.u. member states. as you can see, we have the likes of the ftse 100. the biggest gains come from paris. there's one particular country not on the markets, but it is an important bell weather, we're talking about spain here. we all know that the spanish economy has been suffering earlier in the week. we found out that it slumped to the tune of .3 of 1% in terms of gdp. we know that the net profit plunged 98% over the course of the fourth quarter of the year. it's coming at about 47 million euros. compare that to one in excess of 2 billion euros this time last year. it shows how much the spanish banks are hurting andrew. 98%, that is some fall. these are the numbers here in
asia today. slightly choppy thought of the day. you take this one. sort of up and down all over the place. inching up, i should say by three tenths of 1%. china, the steel makers warning about profits, weakening profits in china. this is all straws in the wind showing how the broader economy is weakening under the tough monetary policy imposed by beijing. the corporation of china down nearly 4%. gives you an idea of how the can ps are feeling the heat. steel down by nearly 11%. a strong yen hampers the exporters. corporate news after the any key closed tenth of a percent higher. honda and toshiba releasing earnings and they were
disappointing. after the earthquake and tsunami and after the thai floods. third quarter profits down 41% for honda. down to $624 million. toshiba, third quarter earnings down 72% from last year in at $138 million. big falls there. there was some positive news from japan today. industrial production came in better than expected in december. up 4% from the previous month. was looking a gain of around 2.9%. a pretty bumpy ride. december's increased factory output was largely led by japan's car and sem conductor makers. that pickup in production came after the flooding in thailand forced a a slowdown of car and electronic plants there. put a lot more pressure on the ones locally producing.
forecast, industrial output has continued to rise steadily this month and next month. on a lessen urging note in japan, the jobless rate came in 4.6% in december, that compares to 4.5% the previous month. nia? >> "world business today," greece reclaims center stage in the european debt crisis. italy is banking on a -- ta setback, recovery is the name of the game for this man. mitt romney. as we head ever closer to tuesday's florida primary. plaque psoriasis. i decided enough is enough. ♪ [ spa lady ] i started enbrel. it's clinically proven to provide clearer skin. [ rv guy ] enbrel may not work for everyone -- and may not clear you completely, but for many, it gets skin clearer fast, within 2 months, and keeps it clearer up to 9 months. [ male announcer ] because enbrel suppresses your immune system,
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>> greece is the immediate focus of the european debt crisis, italy perhaps is the lingering threat in the background. this country is seen by many as too big to fail. it's under close scrutiny as the new government tries to put finances in order. italy's bank chief was among some of the movers and shakers attending the forum last week. his attendance coincided with a drop in costs. that was largely thanks to intervention by the european central bank. richard quest asked if italy is now over the worse. >> it's not out of the crisis but made a lot of process. thanks to its own act and the policies being conducted started by the acb on the liquidity front for banks. >> we'll talk about that in a moment. the new government, reforms have been put in place, now it really is a question of implementing those reforms, isn't it?
if the gains in the market are to be sustained? >> you're right. i think reforms, structure reforms have also already been implemented on the pension front, which is an extremely important area of the economy, even if it is on the fiscal side and not on the real economy or the gross side. on the gross side, i think there's a clear idea on the part that reforms have to be comprehensive. they started liberalizing the number of sectors. they'll reduce the number of burdens and to do something on the labor market. >> are you comfortable with the reforms will not slide and backtrack and what has happened before, you know as well as i do, good promises, poor delivery. >> know. no. i think this is -- obviously, i have to be confident. but i think i'm optimistic because i see there is a lot of action on the part of this
government and i think also the commission is backing it. >> the greek situation has raised fears about the strength of the banking system if banks have to take serious haircuts on their greek debt. how worried are you about any effect or, indeed, any credit crunch that there will be in the italian banking system? >> first of all, the italian banking system is not exposed directly to greece. so it is an indirect effect. there has been a substantial reduction in wholesale fund and there might have been not so good prospects on the debt renewals. sent by the ecb has improved the liability side and this means that the credit crunch has been substantially reduced. >> everything i've read on the ltro says that it's basically the ecb funding large swaths of
europe backed euro -- >> this is not so. the ecb substituted for freezing of the funding -- >> they are the primary funder for the markets. >> what they're doing now with these, they have help banks maintaining their assets both in terms of loans to houses and interprices in terms of leveraging. >> really the ecb's ltro three-money was crucial? >> i think so. it will be crucial in the months coming. >> why? >> because it will put the banking sector in safe territory. most of the risks for a real economy are coming from the financial sector and banking sector. italian banking sector is in terms of fundamentals in good shape. the risk of a substantial -- o in the funding may be seen on financing the real economy. >> so the point though, the ecb
is in many cases, playing a role as lender of last resort to the banking structure. >> of course. it is not the lender for the states -- it is not the lender to the state first off. but it is performing the role of lender to banks and this is part of a monetary policy action and convention perhaps under today's way of saying, but certainly very conventional under yesterday in order to reduce the risks even on priceability from the bank problems. >> so that's the head of the bank of italy. visco speaking to richard quest. improvements in italy has he was saying. the yield on ten-year italian bonds is currently hovering at just over 6%. that is 1% down from the 7% danger level. but let's put this into context
here. it is still three times more expensive for italy to borrow money on the open bond market compared with germany. interesting. that was really interesting discussion with richard and the central bank government because i was looking, there's a story in the financial times which we were commenting about earlier, nina, saying they expect the european banks to have to borrow about twice as much, this much from the ecb, about a trillion euro. they've already borrowed $500 billion last month. it shows you how the ecb remains this critical lender of last resort to the banks. it looks like it's only getting worse. the credit crunch, the trust between the banks seems to be getting steadily worse and worse. fascinating stuff. still ahead on "world business today," the world trade organization a landmark ruling against china over the decades old restrictions on mineral export. now there's another trade on the horizon. the details just ahead.
you're watching "world business today" live on cnn. now, in a blow to beijing, the world trade organization has ruled that china's export limits on raw materials violates international trade rules. following that decision on monday shall the e.u. is pressuring the chinese government to loosen restrictions on the export of rare earth minerals as well. they are essential in the wide range of high tech products from smartphones to flat screen television to rockets. asencio joins us. this is a significant ruling for about everyone involved, ray. >> that's right. the ruling is a win for certain nations. china is going to respect that decision and analysts say it could lead to something bigger. the unraveling of beijing's restrictions on rare earth. there's a bit of back story. back in 2009, the european union and mexico filed a joint
complaint against china basically accusing them of raising prices. some imposed export quotas. the nine industrial minerals came under the chinese restrictions, including bobbing iet and zinc. they're used in steel to batteries to ceramic ware. china filed an appeal against the complaint and it was that decision yesterday that upheld the original wto ruling. what does this mean? can't legally hoard raw materials right now. pretty much it's been doing that for the past decade. since china joined the wto in 2001, it's held on to those raw materials by taking advantage of an old legal exception. that has allowed it to slap tariffs or quota to protect the environment or to conserve a
rare interest. with china unable to do that anymore, the playing field is level portrayed in the minerals. >> this is a fascinating development. on the rare earth side of the story. we have talked about this in the past about how china is such a big producer of raw -- of these rare earths now and how difficult it is to get them if you're not chinese. will it mean that beijing is likely to loosen controls on the export of those minerals or will they ignore it? >> as it stands now. u.s. and the e.u. have not filed complaints against china over these rare earths, not yet at least. it's clear that's where the focus is headed to right now. china produces more than 90% of the rare earths. it's a political and economic tool in 2010 for example it stopped exports over to japan over a little territorial dispute. that made the prices soar. after monday's ruling, e.u.
trade commissioner came out and kept the pressure up on beijing and he was saying this. china must comply sbift swiftly. i expect them to bring their export regime including for rare earths in line with wto rules. even though they're called rare, they're not all that rare. it's just that production is limited in getting them out of the ground can be difficult. for example, last year, hugh deposit found off the coast of hawaii. guess what, it was several kilometers below the surface of the pacific ocean. that would take years if not decades to get to. that's why focus is on china's rare earth. >> thanks very much for that ramy asencio. >> nina? >> coming up next on the show, florida republicans vote on who they want to see lead their party's bid for the white house. the costa concordia's say what they expect the financial
i'm andrew stevens in hong kong. i'm nina dos santos at cnn london. welcome back. you're watching "world business today." let's look at how the european stock markets are moving today. about 90 minutes into tuesday's trading session. largely speak, very positive gains here after yesterday's heavy losses. this is on the back of the fact that we now have news out of brussels, 25 out of the 27 e.u. states agreeing to move forward with this closer fiscal union. we should also mention that we have a spanish bank, big
barometer there in one of the countries that has many people worried in the eurozone, spain. it has come out with a 98% plunge in the fourth quarter profits. that's just one of the things tempering the optimism given what we've heard out of brussels, andrew, overnight. >> yeah. nina, the asian numbers here. there was a fairly choppy sort of a day. you'll see, though, mostly green arrows. not huge gains. hong kong more than 1% much the rest fairly straightforward. china was interesting again today. a lot of the big energy producers and the steel producers particularly warning on profits, which is interesting because it just shows another sign that the chinese economy continues to slow. the steel makers. that knocked down the energy stocks and surprisingly australia down a quarter of a 1%. the only loser across the main markets today, nina. andrew, concerns continue over greece and they continue to
weigh on u.s. stocks for monday's session. so by the time the closing bell rang on wall street, the major indices recovered most of the losses from earlier in the day. but didn't make it into the black fully. the dow jones industrial closing just below the left. the broader s&p 500 index dropped about a quarter of one percent for its part. i'll tell you who was outperforming on the wrong side of the equation, that was banks. big falls on wall street bank. the early selloff on wall street was led by the banks. most of the major lenders ending well pea low the average. the tough economic climate led them to desperate measures of late. bank of america was forced to reverse its plans to introduce a $5 debit card fee.
poppy harlow sat down with the ceo, brian moynahan and asked him what lessons he's learned from that experience. >> we have to deal with the fact that america is still working through the issues of the economic issues. high unemployment. we want to make sure we're seen as fair, transparent and clear and provide tremendous service. the debit fee brought that up and we put it behind us and we'll go forward and make sure we do it right. >> whether it's fair or not, the backlash against the 1% and 99% conversation has been against financial institutions across the board. i'd like your take on what you make of that conversation in the united states. do you think it's an important one and is it happening in the right way? >> i think it's an important one. in some sense, it's the reaction to the $5 fee. there are all parts of this thing. >> symbolic of that. >> in tough times, people want to get ahead and be successful and they want an opportunity to make sure in tough times they're taken care of.
that's an obligation on the society. it's all reflective of that. financial institutions can be singled out. but i think it's a broader question, which is -- this is what dabos has been about. it's the best system there is. the question at times appears as excesses and outcomes that people have to look at. >> certainly excesses of life. you can watch more of that interview on cnn money.com. i predict to you that the economy begins to recover late on election night. the minute it is clear that obama is gone, people will start hiring again. >> brave words from newt gingrich as florida republicans prepare to vote on who they want to see meet the party's bids for the white house. meanwhile, rick santorum is
preparing to give out four years worth of tax. he does his own tax returns. he could release the information as early as today. in the meantime, mitt romney has continued his attack on gingrich over his involvement with the mortgage giant freddie mac to the bitter end of the florida round. >> i think the real reason he didn't do so well is that people had the chance to hear the different candidates and hear their different views and they heard something they hadn't known and that was that he made $1.6 million in his company standing up and talking about freddie mac. made money from freddie mac. the very institution that helped stand behind the huge housing crisis and here in florida, if you're part of the housing crisis, you're probably not going to get elected president. >> the housing markets in florida has been a red hot political issues. in many ways the state is -- the housing boom. florida's fell first and it also fell hard. home values plummeted in and
foreclosures skyrocketed. at the center of it all, people, communities and cities trying to deal with the crisis. as christine romans now reports. >> real estate agent scott nicholas is busy these days. he's doing an occupancy check at this foreclosed jacksonville house. the bank owns it and wants to get rid of. >> in some cases, of course, we rent it to tenants living on the property who are completely unaware it was in the foreclosure process and of course, that conversation can be a little interesting. but for the most part, the properties are usually vacant. >> house after house, street after street 47% of homes here are underwater. and half of all sales are homes in distress. no one is immune, not even real estate agents. >> many realtors have gone through the short sale process and the foreclosure process themselves. this is not anything where it's just a specific mitch in the communities having this problem. everybody is. right now it's tough. it's tough for everybody,
whether there's a foreclosure on a $20,000 house or a $450,000 house. >> thousands of homes on the market, listings show how a tragedy for many is an opportunity for others. homes for as low as $5,000. investors are scooping up entire neighborhoods. >> jacksonville is a beautiful vibrant city. it is being attacked by a cancer from within. house by house. what we see in these neighborhoods, established neighborhoods and new neighborhoods, you start to see vacant houses decaying lawns. you really lose a sense of community when your neighbors all of a sudden have gone. >> real estate professor sid rosenberg said the average home price here is down $80,000 from the peak. >> the foreclosures started before the job loss. can you fix the housing market without fiking the jobs market? >> i think the job market is really key. there's no question that, if people don't have a job or even if people have a job but it's
not really consistent and predictable. they can't really feel good about going out and buying a house. >> tony crone en berg is fighting to keep his house. he has an mba, he understands finance. but the death of his wife and the loss of a job came just as the market collapsed. >> are you all set there? >> obviously, wells fargo is the plaintiff of your case. now, wells fargo says in paragraph 5, plaintiff as servicer for the owner and acting on behalf of the owner with authority to do so has the right to foreclose on your home. what they never tell you is who owns this loan. >> he says wells fargo agreed to a modification, reducing payments in half. but soon the bank declared him in default. >> i kept arguing with them and finally in frustration, i gave up. i heard if you don't make your mortgage payments, that's the only way you can get their attention. i can't tell you how frustrating it is. >> for now, he'll continue to
fight to keep this home, hoping the bank doesn't take it away. christine romans, cnn, jacksonville, florida. certainly when you see stories like that, you realize the mountain that the u.s. economy has to climb before it gets back on some sort of sustainable growth path. now, space odyssey or space oddity? the jury is out on republican presidential candidate newt gingrich's plan to build a permanent colony on the moon. what is certain that it will just about cost the earth. estimates put the price tag at anywhere up to $500 billion. half a trillion dollars. gingrich's vision is to turn the moon into a "bustling tourist destination." . why stop there? once there are 13,000 people living on the moon, they can petition to become a 51st u.s. state. some people would say that mr.
gingrich is in a universe of his own, nina. i have to admit, i don't know how this gets him votes, spending half a trillion dollars on building houses on the moon. we'll have live coverage and analysis of the results in florida tomorrow. that's early wednesday from 8:00 in the morning here in hong kong. it's all part of cnn's america's choice coverage of the 2012 u.s. presidential election. certainly is. in the meantime, we continue with "world business today." after this short break, we'll be focusing in on the costa concordia. we know the human toll of this disaster. now we have a better idea of the financial cost. carnival corporation is just crunched the numbers on the disaster in italy a couple of weeks ago. we'll take a look at that next. .
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can you get me out of it? of course. travelocity? that's amazing! but i'm still stuck. come on man, dig it! [ female announcer ] travelocity. get great deals on all kinds of beach vacations. it's been two and a half weeks since the costa concordia ran off the ground in italy forcing the evacuation of more
than 4,000 passengers and crew. 17 people died. rescue teams are still searching for at least a dozen more missing. the captain faces manslaughter charges and the disaster raised questions about the cruise line's emergency preparedness and the timeliness, nina, of the crew's response. >> the company carnival says that the financial fallout will be significant as you'd expect. now, in a recent finding to the u.s. securities and exchange commission on monday, carnival said the disaster is likely to bent the net income to $175 million for fiscal 2012. that's based on cost forecasts coming from insurance and deductibles as well as other ex ens approximates that could top $40 million. the miami-based company says passenger bookings are noticeably down since the costa concordia ran aground in italy. but it doesn't expect
significant long-term impacts on its businesses as a result. if we take a look at carnival stock price, we've seen an impact. it's fallen about 12% sin the disaster as andrew said about two and a half weeks ago. weather conditions around the costa concordia not promising. rough seas expected from a strong storm. let's go to ivanka brer a. how big a weather system? >> we talked about this yesterday. the low is moving in right now. we're in between lows right now. we had one over the weekend which roughed up seas pretty good. now, the secondary one that's coming in that we talked about yesterday shall this is the one that i was concerned about, the potential certainly, this the range, we'll have higher wind gusts than that. the rough seas are going to be under way here as we head into the next six to 12 hours. it will take a while to get this out of the way.
this storm system that is not only going to be impacting the concordia, but we'll get to the second part of the score i as we check in on the snow in a second. there you see the wind, 20, 30 and subside a little bit here. but then here come the system heading through later today. the winds will pick up as i mentioned. we're talking gusts in excess of 50, 60 kilometers per hour. we'll keep monitoring that. part of the storm system bringing heavy snow, well, you can do snow with temperatures like this. it has been unbelievably cold in romania. celsius, 22 below zero. that's what we've been in the last 24 hoursment bulgaria is getting in on that. let's go to the ground and show you what the folks are having to deal with here. not only are commuters having problems getting around. it's hard to walk around. certainly if you are in the northern hemisphere, you can relate to what is going on right now in turkey. problem here is not just the snow. we can deal with the snow and
clear the snow and get it out of the way and get around. the problem is the temperature, the temperature there has been plummeting to the dangerous lows. we have folks that do not have proper shelter and frostbite has been significant. take a look at that. unbelievable there. if you're getting frostbite and up get treated, that's great. we've saved some lives as a result of the exposure. 20 below zero temperatures. we'll continue to do that over the next couple of days. this is massive arctic high, nina and andrew. i don't see it going anywhere. mighty cold across central and eastern europe the next couple of days. >> extraordinary to see that sort of temperatures and those pictures in turkey. amazing. ivan, thank for that. ivan cabrera. andrew, it's pretty chilly in great britain where we are. we're not used to these temperatures.
the sights and the sounds of good fortune. it was in the cnn hong kong newsroom this tuesday. you're looking at a traditional line dance they help to welcome the lunar new year. 2012, of course, is the year of the dragon, considered the luckiest sign of the chinese zodiac. this is cnn around china. seeing the lion dancing performed. all of us wishing prosperity. the producer there of news stream. close up and personal with that line. welcome back. you're watching cnn hong kong. and cnn london. "world business today." good stuff. >> it is. i've got to say a couple of the the producers look terrified of the dragon and the cameras as well. which is as we know often the
case. it's often said that life imitates art. but in this case. the opposite could be true. in germany they dramatize the crisis and the greek tragedy, this one a musical. from berlin, here's more. >>. ♪ ♪ >> it was only a matter of time before the doom and gloom of something as dry as the eurozone debt crisis became the stuff of satire. ♪ >> turned into stage material by a business journalist who felt the crisis was slowly turning to farce. >> when you -- week in, week out as i do. you wonder why -- sometimes why these people deserve to be treated seriously. you can see what they should be doing and they're not doing it.
>> because we are expert -- we're very good with our own -- housekeeping. >> they may be the butt of most of the jokes but in a country not known for sense of humor, the germans are still laughing. >> what did you think of the euro skeptical tone of the germans? >> we're used to that from the english anyway. it's okay. it's their opinion and some of the germans are euro skeptical too. although they won't say that. >> in another 50 years -- >> the end of the euro is not a foregone conclusion. as the crisis limps from summit to summit. nor is it just the stuff of fantasy. >> it was a -- with fundamental flaws. an endeavor that wouldn't last
forever ♪ cnn, berlin. time now to take another quick check at the european markets. we've been trading for nearly two hours now. some of them, are still up to the tune of 1%. must also point out, throughout the course of this hour on "world business today," we've had news that the italian unemployment rate has risen to just shy of 9%. the exact figure in the last quarter is 8.9%. disappointing for some economists but still let's put this into perspective. it's way below the 20-plus level out of spain over the course of the last week or so, andrew. >> another way to look at it is twice the level of japan that's had the last decade nearly two decades of economic growth. just before we go, here's a quick story. presidential aspirations. on e-bay, one of barack obama's old motors is up for auction.
you can drive detroit-style in this chrysler 300 krsh. there are a couple of catches. it will set you back at least $1 million. according to the sales pitch, the vehicle wasn't in fact fit for a president. the gas guzzler was traded in for a hybrid when mr. obama launched his electoral campaign. the seller insist the price tag is no joke. he notes that a mercedes convertible owned by hitler went for $8 million. some people really do have more money than taste. that's it for this edition of "world business today." thanks for joining us. i'm andrew stevens in hong kong. i'm nina dos santos in london. we hope to see you for the opening bell. in the meantime, goodbye for now.